Playing Cat-sup

For the record, I hate ketchup. Not just some brands or in some applications, but all ketchup, across the board, even with the classic pairing of crispy and well-salted french fries. There is no faster way to ruin a perfectly good handful of starchy, fried potatoes than to throw some of that red glop across the top. Too sweet to be comfortably paired with savory main dishes but certainly no dessert fodder, it’s that extra piece of the puzzle that doesn’t make sense anywhere in the bigger picture of a meal, and may in fact have come from an entirely different box.

So why on earth did I go and make a quick ketchup, on a blindingly busy day where I had to bake and snap pictures at a breakneck pace? I like to challenge myself, for one thing; Dissecting my reasons for detesting this tomato-based substance, it became a more of a dare. “I bet you can’t make a better version, either,” I taunted myself silently. For another, I can’t resist the temptation to positively bury myself in work, so what better timing than a day when I’m already swamped? Immediately, the ideas started flowing in. A big bag of sun-dried tomatoes provided the initial push, and from a quick internet search and some inspiration, it became an unstoppable impetus. Employing a decent measure of apple cider rather than straight sugar would help cut the sweetness, and a decent bite of vinegar can swing things back to the savory side of the street. Suddenly, this ketchup concept become entirely more appealing.

Unlike traditional ketchup recipes requiring hours of laborious stewing and stirring, the sun-dried tomatoes provide concentrated flavor right from the get go, and the recipe speeds right along. Amazingly, I do not hate this ketchup, which is high praise considering my previous disdain. I can’t say I’m about to slather it on everything that crosses my dinner plate, but those french fries we were talking about earlier? Bring them on.

Yield: Makes About 3 Cups

Sun-Dried Tomato Ketchup

Sun-Dried Tomato Ketchup

Apple cider rather than straight sugar helps cut the sweetness in this rich, sun-dried ketchup, while a decent bite of vinegar swings things back to the savory side of the street.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 2 Cups Apple Cider
  • 1 Cup (Dry, Not Oil Packed) Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Soaked in Hot Water for 30 Minutes and Drained
  • 2/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Mustard Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • Generous Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • Pinch Ground Cloves
  • 1 Small Yellow Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to Taste


  1. This procedure hardly needs a written recipe, but here goes: Toss everything into your blender or a sturdy food processor, and puree until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides as need to make sure that everything is thoroughly pulverized.
  2. Transfer the mixture into a large sauce pan and set over medium heat. It may seem like too large of a pot, but this stuff bubbles and sputters like mad once it gets going, so the high sides are helpful for protecting the walls (and yourself) from gruesome blood-red splatters. Cook at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, until slightly thickened or at least less watery, stirring every couple of minutes to prevent burning.
  3. Move the whole batch back into your blender or food processor, and puree once more to ensure a perfectly smooth texture. Let cool completely before bottling and storing.
  4. Bear in mind that since this homemade ketchup lacks the additives and preservatives of mainstream brands, you will need to shake it well before each use, as it can separate a bit as it sit. Additionally, it should be kept in the fridge, tightly sealed for no more than 1 month.


Bonus! If that label caught your eye, you’re in luck! I’d like to share it with you for your own ketchup creations. Here are three color variations for whatever strikes your fancy, below. Just click on the image and print it out on sticker paper at a 6 x 4 size. Trim, and slap it on a 16-ounce glass bottle. I used a rinsed and dried GT Kombucha bottle, for size reference.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 49Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

37 thoughts on “Playing Cat-sup

  1. But “hate” is such a strong word! Hehe. It makes apparent your loathing of ketchup; I tend to use the same word for grapefruit and cilantro, though I seldom use it in other contexts. It’s wonderful to see that you’ve a mind open enough to allow this much-disliked condiment to enter your diet, albeit in a different, tastier, more elegant form. Sun-dried tomatoes, man… They are godly on their own (I put them in and on EVERYTHING). I definitely look forward to trying this. Thank you and good luck with all of your work and keeping your head afloat :)

  2. I can’t stand sugary ketchup either so I understand your disgust. Your packaging is fabulous! I wish someone could launch such branded food product. I would buy it… and I would carry it on my store.

  3. Thanks for the whitty post Hannah…coming from someone who LOVES ketchup but hates fake sugary condiments, it was great to see you take your adversity and push it to the edge! It looks great*

  4. As soon as I started reading this, I thought about raw sundried tomato ketchup, which I like even though I’m not a fan of the regular stuff. Then I see you used sundried tomatoes in yours – nice! I bet I’d like your version. :)

  5. I DO love catsup with my “baked skinny fries” but cannot justify consuming packaged catsup with its vast quantities of sugar. I can’t wait to try out this recipe!

  6. HA! Yep it can be sweet. We are more of a mustard family, love it when we do make those home fries. When purchasing ketchup though, I prefer Westbrae. Yours looks really good with the sundried tomatoes.

  7. I never thought to make my own ketchup. My daughter loves the stuff- she eats it on just about

    everything. Luckily we buy the organic kind so it has less chemicals and sugar in it. But I think she would love this too, and love helping to make it (she’s 8). I am definitely going to add this to my “must try” list. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Oh say it ain’t so–you hate ketchup!?! Oy vey! Your sundried ketchup looks absolutely divine though; I’d love to dip some vegan pigs in a blanket in it. Mmm. Bookmarked and ready to go once my kitchen is in order!

  9. I hate ketchup so much that I can’t even be in the same room as it without gagging. Seriously. Which means I need to try this! Using sun-dried tomatoes is a genius move!

  10. I’ve never been a fan of tomato sauce (I’m Aussie; it feels wrong to say “ketchup” :P ) but I trust you! This looks and sounds brilliant :) Hopefully not too sweet either :)

  11. I thought I was the only one hating ketchup;D Used to buy it only for my son,who was addicted to it…Your version of ketchup sounds lovely though:)

  12. Yum! I’ve seen different types through some of my foodie mags and have always wanted to try them. I may just need to make some of my own!

  13. Your ketchup looks so thick and rich. Do you remember the advertisement, “anticipation… your making me wait…” ? I love your marketing for your product. Go for it.

  14. I thought I was totally alone when it came to hating ketchup! Even a tiny bit of it will make me gag and ruin my appetite. Just seeing it on a plate even turns my stomach a bit. Imight try your version, though! I’ve never tasted anything bad that included sun dried tomatoes.

  15. I only like a certain brand of ketchup and only the organic version. But it would be great to have a homemade version especially if it’s easy and doesn’t take too long like yours. :-)

  16. You’re right, homemade ketchup is truly in a league of its own! I’m glad you’ve been somewhat converted by what looks like an incredibly delicious version. And thanks for sharing those labels, they’re adorable!

  17. I’m not a ketchup person either! I don’t even like doing dishes that have ketchup on them! This sounds great though, I’m a HUGE sun dried tomato fan. And I love the labels! Thanks so much for sharing them, I’ll be spreading the word.

  18. I was ok with ketchup when I was younger but now as an adult when I taste it, it feels strange (probably cos’ words have got around abt most store-bought ketchup being “evil”).

    I am sure when it is homemade, it is all good and tasty :)

  19. I am not a huge fan of ketchup myself, so I never thought about making it. But this recipe sounds really intriguing. And I do like sun dried tomatoes – the ones we get from Costco are pretty good. This recipe is a keeper :-). Thanks!

  20. I just pinned it on pinterest, thanks so much for sharing! The older I get, the less I like sweet tomato ketchup, and this recipe sounds just perfect. One question, though: What kind of apple cider do you use? Is it alcoholic or just some sort of apple juice? Even here in Germany, “apple cider” describes different drinks depending on your region… Thanks in advance!

    1. Yay, thank you for pinning! The apple cider I called for here is the non-alcoholic, juice variety. You can also use unfiltered apple juice, but I like the drier, more complex taste of cider here.

  21. I love ketchup! Specially curry ketchup; sweet n spicy nomnom! But I bet yours would make a welcome change every once in a while :)

  22. Just made it … Bloody Brilliant.. I hate tomato sauce and only use at other ppls bbq’s when budget sausages are on the menu.
    i added water and proberly a little more than i should of… turned out fantastic.

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